How Electricity is Produced Using Wind Energy
We know how electricity is produced using wind energy. Driving through the northeast or plains states you will notice the stork like wind farms with their propellers gracefully turning in the wind. You may hear a low hum as the wind turbines capture kinetic energy of the blowing winds and convert it to electrical power.
Creating Reliable Power
One huge challenge in how electricity is produced using wind energy is the uneven quality of wind power. Wind is intermittent and unreliable. The wind blows when it blows and cannot be stimulated during periods when more electricity is needed.
The electricity produced using wind energy can be stored when batteries are used and for homes using a wind turbine, this method may be used. Storing the energy produced adds about 25% to the cost of using a wind turbine but can be effective. A large home can have a collected of batteries that are connected to the home systems.
The wind turbine is used to create power to charge the batteries and the batteries provide reliable power when needed in the home. The battery system of storage is useful especially for homes that are built far from a commercial power grid.
It allows vacation homes to be built in wilderness areas, for example, without the necessity for loud, polluting gasoline driven generators and without the need to run power lines or cables for miles to connect to a power grid.
Wind farms located near commercial power grids can sell power to the utility company. The electricity produced can be routed through cables to the power grid and dispersed to utility customers along with power generated by more traditional power plants.
Homeowners who install their own wind turbines often sell excess electricity to the local power company. The homeowner's wind turbine can create most of the electricity needed by the systems in the home but he can also tap into the power grid during times when wind energy is not sufficient to run the air conditioner or furnace. By selling excess electricity to the power grid when winds are prevalent, the homeowner can easily offset the cost of traditional electricity used as a backup.
One problem yet to overcome is the transportation issue. We know how electricity is produced using wind energy but utilizing the electricity poses some problems on a commercial basis. Though wind turbines located near utility companies can sell excess power produced, most ideal wind farm locations are in remote areas. It's possible in the future battery technology may be the answer to capturing and storing wind energy.
Battery innovation has been rapid in recent years. The rechargeable battery was a great invention and the newer lithium ion batteries are widely used today in everything from power hand tools to electronic cigarettes.
The increased charge capacity is important but the weight and size of the lithium ion battery may be the most important innovation. Could it be in the future we will have large batteries that will be charged by wind farms and then transported to utility companies to power a grid?
The idea of charging huge batteries with electricity produced using wind energy and then transporting the batteries may seem like a wild idea. A battery large enough to help power a commercial grid may be out of reach at this time but that doesn't mean it won't be available in the future.
Previous disadvantages regarding how electricity is produced using wind energy were the noise levels produced by wind turbines and the danger the moving blades posed to wildlife. Better engineering has lessened the noise produced by a wind turbine.
Most of the sound is created by the huge blades moving through the air. Due to the height of a wind tower the noise is disbursed in unusual ways. Someone standing at the base of a wind turbine may hear little or no noise while a person living half a mile away may complain of the sounds. The same wind that powers the turbine carries the noise away with it.
Noise has often been an excuse for people who are opposed to building a wind farm. It's true there is a low level hum from wind turbines and the background noise can be distracting for those who are sensitive to sounds. It is mentioned as a problem more often than deserved perhaps because it provides a "concrete" reason to oppose a wind turbine or wind farm being built.
Slower propeller blades on new wind turbines appear to have solved the problem of birds being killed by blades. The slow blades are more easily seen and avoided by flocks of birds and bird species in areas where wind farms are in operation have not been negatively affected by the turbines.
The other concern is the amount of land needed for a wind farm. These are huge towers that have traditionally been widely spread in a loose pattern. Land used for a wind turbine must be cleared of any trees or structure that might lead to turbulence and interfere with the energy process.
Ranch and farms with their large grazing pastures were originally not used for multiple wind turbines but now we know that livestock can graze on the same land where electricity is produced using wind energy. The moving propellers and low hum have no detrimental effect on cattle or sheep who graze contentedly around the based of the towers.
Farmers can even continue to use the open space in fields where a wind farm is located. Previously wind farm turbines were located either in a straight line that stretched for several miles or in widely spaced groupings.
Newer studies show the same amount of electricity is produced using wind energy when towers are closely spaced. This will reduce the amount of cleared land that will be necessary for new wind farms going forward.
How electricity is produced using wind energy is the same basic process that has been used to create power from wind for many years. Public interest in this renewable and environmentally friendly energy continue to grow and this interest fuels technology.
Better turbines and great knowledge of the potential of electricity produced using wind energy can only help to further increase the use of the wind's kinetic energy to power homes and businesses.